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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stewart Binns makes History interesting!
I have now read the three books by Stewart Binns that cover this turbulent period of English history, and i have been captivated by his writing. The common link in all three books is Hereward the Wake, and he and his descendants are the main characters as they travel England and the Holy Land righting wrongs, meeting persons of historical note and generally meeting their...
Published 23 months ago by D. Fishwick

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars History for the classroom
I was excited when I saw this book in a bookshop (yes, I still visit bookshops ...), thinking that as it had thrilled Seb Coe and Alistair Campbell, it should be a good read. On top of that, it seemed to have an interesting structure (told through letters, but also with standard 3rd-person narrative), and I thought it would be a story set in a fascinating period in...
Published 16 months ago by Longchamps


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stewart Binns makes History interesting!, 9 Jun. 2013
By 
D. Fishwick "dfishwick" (Preston, Lancs) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Anarchy (Making of England Book 3) (Kindle Edition)
I have now read the three books by Stewart Binns that cover this turbulent period of English history, and i have been captivated by his writing. The common link in all three books is Hereward the Wake, and he and his descendants are the main characters as they travel England and the Holy Land righting wrongs, meeting persons of historical note and generally meeting their destinies. A great read - I would heartily recommend to all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars History for the classroom, 22 Dec. 2013
I was excited when I saw this book in a bookshop (yes, I still visit bookshops ...), thinking that as it had thrilled Seb Coe and Alistair Campbell, it should be a good read. On top of that, it seemed to have an interesting structure (told through letters, but also with standard 3rd-person narrative), and I thought it would be a story set in a fascinating period in English history. Unfortunately I was disappointed.

The author's introduction was a useful history lecture setting the scene for the period in English history called 'The Anarchy', a time when it was said that 'Christ and his Angels slept'. Then we read Gilbert Foliot's letter to a mate in Rome: a bit, 'how are you chum, read any good books lately? It's been raining here a bit ...' And he finishes up, 'I'm going to tell you a story, one that a fellow on his deathbed told me; I think you'll like it'. (Trust me, no great story-spoiler there.)

The guts of the book is this deathbed feller's life story: 'I was born at a very early age; my mum was this, my dad was that. When I was a bit older I did this, then I went here, then I went there ...' It's a travelogue of where this chap went, a few incidents along the way - and for the first 225 pages, he was barely in England, there was nothing about The Anarchy and all its possibilities for fascinating intrigues, exciting stories and character development!

The writing is all a bit mundane, nothing sparkles, and the characters rather left me shrugging my shoulders and wondering if I cared whether any of them lived or died. It's quite a good book for background reading for the 'O' level history course, but I personally was disappointed, as I bought it thinking it might be a bit like Simon Scarrow (one of my 5-star writers) set in the 12th century.

That said, it is good to see that so many other people have enjoyed this book, and maybe someone reading these reviews and wondering whether to buy it will enjoy reading it too: taste in novels is a very personal thing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment!, 28 Mar. 2014
By 
Michael G. Annis "Sassenach" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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I have liked Stewart's books to date and this one started well with a central character who had potential to be part of a great story of his rise to herodom. Sadly the rise was meteoric in a way and it became far too fantastical. At one stage I expected him to wear his breeches outside his armour and start flying. The pace of the novel was unrelenting as our hero consorted with Dukes, Doges, Dynasties and Duchesses, well in this case an Empress who he also managed to impregnate more than once. So our hero started the Plantagenet dynasty while whisking around Europe from one war to another, escaping from the direst of straits, climbing castle walls using only an arrow and a bit of string, beating impossible odds and the Templars at the same time. He even managed to fool everyone by changing his name. Think his next appearance as Robin Hood will be even wilder. Coupled with this were gaps of years in the narrative covered by a wee paragraph. I don't think our hero missed any important personage or event during this turbulent time. Sorry to be a bit facetious but the story could have been so mush better and less fantastical. Maybe it's just me, looking at many of the reviews but this was a tremendous disappointment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great historical novel - page-turner packed with detail, 22 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Anarchy (Making of England Book 3) (Kindle Edition)
This is the third Stewart Binns novel I've read (and it's the third in his series Making of England). It's set in the twelfth century and gives a vivid account of 50 years in the life of knight and adventurer Harold of Hereford. It drew me into that world and kept me turning the pages. I already knew a bit about the crusades, the Knights Templar and some of the key events mentioned but I had no idea how brutal and how long-lasting the civil war between Matilda and Stephen was. And while the story is told from the knight's viewpoint, you get a real feel for the chaos there was for ordinary people. There's a strong moral sense of purpose throughout the book - but there are also temptations and human flaws. The book is told in a traditional, literary way through letters and this gives it an authentic, period feel. There is clearly a phenomenal amount of research behind it - and there are maps, genealogies and a glossary for those who still curious about the history of the time. Because it is Written
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4.0 out of 5 stars Top trilogies third outing, 24 Jun. 2013
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
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The new Making of England title by Stewart Binns that keeps the reader going into a new period with cracking prose, wonderful pace and of course characters that the reader really does want to be around as they see the history come to life before their eyes.

The battle sequences are sharp, the combat direct and when added to an almost cinematic storytelling style really works well for the historical fiction reader. Throw into the mix solid prose alongside a beautifully woven arc all round makes this a series that has gone from strength to strength and whilst currently stated that it's a trilogy, there is plenty more scope for it to open into future titles.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have read, 24 Feb. 2014
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I just loved this book. If you like medieval this is an exiting, informative and fast moving read. Completely believable and mixed with real characters. Great attention to detail. Only criticism - I read this on holiday in Egypt and half the pages fell out. I was told it might be the glue melting in the heat so not so good on quality on the book binding but well worth the hassle to read the contents.

I will be buying other Stewart Binns books
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read!, 29 Mar. 2014
By 
Robert E Shedd (Shipley, West Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Anarchy (Making of England Book 3) (Kindle Edition)
Another well written and intensely readable novel by Stewart Binns with an interesting idea on how the legend of Robin Hood began... Highly recommended, as are all his other books- can't wait to read "Lionheart"...!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A very good read weaving folklore and history together, 25 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Anarchy (Making of England Book 3) (Kindle Edition)
Yet another good read from Stewart Binns. I have found his books to elaborate on history weaving folklore into his stories to enhance the tale and known facts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent story, 9 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Anarchy (Making of England Book 3) (Kindle Edition)
great story expertly written which added to my understanding of medieval England Recomended read for all ages and especially those interested in history
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5.0 out of 5 stars Anarchy Book, 13 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Anarchy (Making of England Book 3) (Kindle Edition)
An excellent and riveting holiday read and a good follow on from previous series.
Excellent read and highly recommended. Thanks
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Anarchy (Making of England Book 3)
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